Home > News > News in Brief: 20 November 2008

News in Brief: 20 November 2008

A brief list of news for the day:

The US strikes deeper in Pakistan. The missile attack on Wednesday by a United States Predator drone on a village in North-West Frontier Province is of extreme importance, not so much because it might have killed members of al-Qaeda’s inner council, but because it is the first such action outside of Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal areas. The US is now taking the fight to the militants, wherever they might be. The next stop is the cities. (Asia Times)

Pakistan protest to US ambassador. Pakistan has summoned the US ambassador in Islamabad to protest at a US missile attack deep inside Pakistani territory on Wednesday that killed five people. (BBC)

Somali pirates ‘demand $25m ransom’. Somali pirates who hijacked the Sirius Star, a Saudi-owned supertanker, are demanding $25m for the ship’s return, according to Mohamed Said, one of the pirates. (Al Jazeera)

Fears over US economy weaken world markets. The increasingly precarious state of the US economy sent stockmarkets into retreat today as Asian markets closed sharply down, with Japan’s Nikkei benchmark index falling almost 7%. (Guardian)

Can Chinese Government Spending Avert Recession? China is spending nearly $1 trillion to revive its economy. Will it work? John Garnaut reports from Wenzhou City, Zhejiang. (Japan Focus)

Syria and Britain all ears now. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has made it clear from Damascus that Syria is a problem-solver, rather than a problem-seeker in the Arab world. This signals a new start in relations between the two countries and bodes well for tackling problems in Lebanon and Iraq. Some intelligence-sharing is also a help. (Asia Times)

Barak: Gaza Strip crossings to remain closed Thursday. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed Israeli forces to keep crossings into the Gaza Strip closed on Thursday. (Ma’an)

Peres warns evacuation of settlers may lead to civil war. President Shimon Peres told members of the British Parliament Wednesday that Israel would have difficulty dismantling West Bank settlements without causing a civil war in Israel. (Haaretz)

Palestinians to publish first-ever ads in Hebrew explaining Arab peace plan. The Palestinian Authority is publishing for the first time on Thursday advertisements in the Hebrew-language Israeli press that present the details of the Arab peace plan. (Haaretz)

Why the U.S. blinked on its troop agreement with Iraq. Although the Pentagon officially has welcomed the new accord on a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq, senior military officials are privately criticizing President Bush for giving Iraq more control over U.S. military operations for the next three years than the U.S. had ever contemplated. (McClatchy)

Iraqis doubt security agreement will end U.S. presence. Iraqi and American leaders say that a new security pact will have all U.S. forces and military contractors out of Iraq by 2012, but 14th Ramadan Street is skeptical. (McClatchy)

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